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Message from the President · March 2012
March 2, 2012
Building FPRI 2.0
Friends of FPRI,
I appreciate the opportunity given me to lead the Foreign Policy Research Institute, an organization I have been proud to serve for 36 years. I hope you will join me in investing in the next generation of our work—FPRI 2.0.
Naturally, this is a pivotal time to take stock of who we are and to build on our strengths. The FPRI “brand,” as established by Robert Strausz-Hupé in 1955, emphasizes history and geography as integral to informing policy recommendations that advance the national interest.
Our History Institute for Teachers, builds on this emphasis in a dynamic way. For it is a high-quality program of professional development for high school teachers. Commencing in 1996, it is a program that is unique among think tanks. At present, it draws faculty from over 500 schools in 46 states, and features programming on military history, the history of innovation, terrorism, and a host of other topics.
As a Philadelphia institution, we are proud to serve as a neutral meeting place for scholars from the region’s many universities and colleges—making us the place where great minds meet, and, even more important, where great synergies are born. The FPRI-Temple University Consortium on Grand Strategy, with faculty from 13 institutions of higher education and operating since 2009, has its roots in our InterUniversity Seminar on Foreign Affairs, inaugurated in 1984.
Our quarterly journal Orbis (published since 1957) is one of the leading journals of world affairs, of particular use to professionals and undergraduates (and heavily circulated at the war colleges), and our electronic bulletins have brought FPRI’s careful research to policymakers, scholars, laypeople , even soldiers on the battlefield as well as those other great soldiers of a free society—those who lead in our classrooms!
One of our newest undertakings is “The Manhattan Initiative,” featuring a series of exclusive monthly salons with leading thinkers at the homes of friends in Manhattan. Begun in 2011, this intellectually engaging initiative, drawing academics and business leaders is one we hope to replicate in other cities.
In the year ahead, we will grapple with the great issues of the day—a rising China and a declining Europe, a resurgent Islamism and emergent cyberwar, and a national debt that has been called “our greatest national security issue.” And we will do so with a growing group of rising young scholars in addition to our complement of more established scholars. You will be hearing from them at the podium and in our publications.
We see the impact of our work regularly in new academic and trade books, journals, and leading newspapers around the world where our scholars are featured.
Can there be any doubt that FPRI makes a critical contribution to the public discourse on foreign policy and national security?
As we spread ourselves geographically, we also look to our home in Philadelphia as a source for innovative programming —in particular as we examine the emergence of democracy in its Philadelphia context, the lessons for political transitions today, and the implications for American foreign policy. To carry out this vision, we will build alliances with other key Philadelphia institutions.